Post image for Apple’s focus on a “Healthbook” app could improve public health, force doctors to adopt mobile

Last week the New York Times reported that Apple met with the FDA to discuss mobile medical applications. While it’s no secret Apple has been on a hiring spree focused on talent with expertise related to mobile health, this has been the surest sign to date that Apple has plans to release a dedicated health app in future iterations of iOS.

The reliable 9to5mac claims Apple is working on a “Healthbook” app, similar to the Passbook app currently on all iPhones. It will enable users to store blood pressure recordings, heart rate, glucose levels, and other health metrics.

Improving Public Health

There are millions of iPhones that have been sold, and the feature that makes it great for a public health tool is also a feature many technology purists hate — uniformity. If Apple were to create a standard health metric tracking application – Healthbook, it would be easy to teach individuals how to use the app because of the uniformity factor. Unlike Samsung’s forays into similar applications, you wouldn’t have to worry about different phones and different operating systems. With Apple you know you will get the same user experience, on the same device, and you can feel comfortable the app will get robust updates and support.

This type of uniformity is not only important for the user experience, but would also make physicians significantly more comfortable in using this app with their patients. (read more)

Post image for Echocardiography Atlas by Epocrates is an outstanding reference app for clinicians

Echocardiography is a cornerstone of assessment of cardiac function.

While traditionally reserved to the domain of cardiology, echo is now being increasingly used as a point-of-care tool by intensivists, emergency medicine clinicians, and others.

As such, there is an increasing need for mobile tools to learn and review echocardiography, and not just for cardiologists.

Epocrates’ Echocardiography Atlas is a comprehensive reference app that contains a large library of echo images and video. After giving it a spin, we were left pretty impressed with the quality of this app.

Here’s why.

(read more)

Post image for Current challenges in mHealth behavioral intervention research

Satish Misra MD contributed to this article

We recently talked about strategies that clinicians and developers can use to make apps focused on behavioral change more successful.

In many ways, though, these lessons are based on a trial-by-error approach to development.

More needs to be done, we’d argue, to improve the current research body of behavior change. At the recent mHealth Summit, there were a number of events that touched on this need.

Taking a step back, there were three prominent themes:

  • Researchers need ways to study technology
  • Researchers need to work in interdisciplinary teams
  • We need new ways of capturing information

Here, we’ll explore how each of these ideas can help drive the development of a stronger evidence base for the use of mhealth tools to drive behavior change.

(read more)

Post image for NeuroSlice app for Android aims to teach neuroanatomy with a large library of images

Purpose of the Review

To determine the usability and functionality of the neurological app NeuroSlice.

Introduction

The human nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system. To really understand and diagnose pathology like strokes, neurodegenerative diseases, and so on requires a detailed knowledge of anatomy. In addition, imaging studies can provide insight as to the integrity of brain structures and it’s important to be able to understand what you’re looking at.

Google’s Play Store has plenty of imaging apps but it can be hard to figure out which one is the right one for you.

Today we will take a look at NeuroSlice, an app developed by Dr. Sanjay Manohar.

(read more)

Post image for How to change your patients’ behaviors with your health app

Exercising too little can lead to obesity.

Ingrained habits can lead to continued smoking and substance addiction.

Forgetfulness can lead to medication noncompliance and hospital readmissions for diseases like heart failure. What is the one thing these medical issues all have in common? Behavior.

These medical issues are influenced by patient behaviors. As providers, we often craft the perfect-sounding assessment & plan for our patients’ health, but these efforts are for naught if patients aren’t equipped with tools and support to change their habits or behaviors.

Many believe that mhealth apps can modify patient behaviors. However, as Brown University emergency medicine physician Dr. Megan Ranney points out, statistics show that few patients use their health app more than once.

There are many ideas for how to avoid that common pitfall and use mhealth tools for more effective behavior change. Here are some we recently learned from researchers and innovators in mobile health.

(read more)

Post image for CliniCalc medical calculator is a good app but is it worth the cost?

Purpose of App Review

  • How useful is this app as a resource for medical formulas, scores and classifications and how does it compare to the MedCalc app?

Introduction

In practically every field of medicine, there are many formulas, scores and classifications that are used in the treatment of patients. These can include anything from maintenance fluid calculations to the CHADS2 score. It is impossible to remember them all and often tedious to do with just a calculator. That’s where apps like CliniCalc come in.

Given that the formulas in CliniCalc are based on those in MedCalc and the price of both apps’ full versions are $4.99, we decided to compare CliniCalc to MedCalc and determine which is the better buy.

Ed Note: Keep an eye out for our coming update to the Best Medical Calculator App post

(read more)

Post image for Spot Dx Radiology for Medical Students is a radiology Android app for medical students

Purpose of App Review

  • To find out if this app can be of use to medical students.

Introduction

The Spot Dx app is a Radiology application designed to help medical students develop skills for making a quick assessment of clinical data and to arrive at the appropriate diagnosis.

It’s developed by KnightMair Industries, an independent provider of IT solutions from the United Kingdom for the professional medical community.

(read more)

Post image for Data from popular smoking cessation app shows patterns on when smokers try to quit

By: David Crane

The wide popularity of New Year’s resolutions suggests that people like tying personal change to a calendar event.

It seems we feel a new year is a good time for a new us, but do we feel similarly about a new month or a new week?

Evidence from 83,969 users who downloaded Smoke Free – Quit Smoking Now, between February 27th and 2nd December 2013 suggests that we do.

(read more)

Post image for Leveraging mobile apps to keep up with massive amounts of medical literature

Iltifat Husain MD contributed to this piece

We live in an amazing time of medical research, with multi-center trials being conducted around the world on a myriad of topics. Coupled with this substantial growth in research is the number of publications released detailing the results. Often, clinicians are responsible to keep up on these new trials and reviews and their implications to practice.

Will a new study increase the utilization of a new treatment? Will a study revoke years of conscious effort to stick to so-called dogma? Will medical guidelines need to be rewritten?

Interestingly, the essence of the matter is that there is a veritable deluge of information overload. I have several times overheard colleagues and others mutter that even if they read several articles a night and stuck to their primary specialization, there would be no conceivable way to keep up with every journal or article published relevant to their practice.

(read more)

Post image for How the Red Cross is using mobile apps to improve public health

By: Irfan Husain MS4, MPH candidate 

With the advancements in social media and a surge in the prevalence of smartphones, we are now seeing live Twitter and Facebook updates and emergency-related applications being used in disaster response efforts.

Here, we evaluate the Red Cross Natural Disaster App series’ design and utility for the public in natural disasters. (read more)

Post image for Social media is reshaping how we respond to disasters

By: Irfan Husain MS4, MPH candidate 

Natural disasters are an unavoidable and fairly frequent fact of life. In 2012 there were 357 registered natural disasters, resulting in 9,655 mortalities and $157 billion worth of damages[1,2]. One of the most recent, deadliest and highly publicized natural disasters of 2012 was Hurricane Sandy.

Its path of destruction along the northeast resulted in 286 deaths and $68 billion in damages. In recent years, disaster response organizations have increasingly used social media tools in their response to disasters like Sandy.

Social media channels have several advantages that make them well suited to disaster response. First, the audience is there – people are increasingly turning to these platforms to communicate with loved ones and get information. Second, it is low cost – sending a tweet to a million people is free. Finally, it’s a two way street – response groups can both send and receive information through these channels.

In 2012, the Red Cross did a survey to evaluate how social media could be used in disaster response efforts. That same year, those tools were used in Sandy response and recovery efforts. Here, we’ll review how platforms like Twitter and Facebook were used by disaster response groups to save lives.

(read more)

Post image for How do you design video games for health? Insights from RWJ Foundation award winning Litesprite

Hopefully, the days of bland patient information and mind-numbingly dull educational videos will soon be behind us. Increasingly, people are recognizing games as a way to better engage patients for educational and therapeutic purposes. These include mainstream consumer titles like the Wii Fit to specialized applications like laparoscopic surgical simulations and physical rehabilitation. In the past decade, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — a philanthropy whose aim is to improve healthcare — has provided grants and guidance for Games for Health and related initiatives. Their most recent competition, the Games To Generate Data Challenge, targets population health.

Litesprite (@Litespritegames) one of the competition winners, created SinaSprite, a mobile game that targets 25- to 50-year-old women with anxiety & depression. Players’ progress can be monitored & rewarded by clinicians and caregivers. The game uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and grant funding has been submitted for future clinical trials (view their slide deck submission at RWJF).

iMedicalApps recently interviewed Swatee Surve MBA MSME, founder and CEO of Litesprite, along with David Hazel MS, Litesprite’s technical advisor and Managing Director of the Center for Web & Data Science at the University of Washington – Tacoma.

(read more)